Indian Navy sinks Somali pirate ship

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 19 | Updated: Nov 21 2008, 04:57am hrs
In yet another incident in the deep seas surrounding Somalia, an Indian Navy vessel sank a pirate ship that had fired at it in the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden near Somalia, scoring a major success in its anti-piracy operations in that region.

With Somalis hijacking more vessels in the region which is very important for India, as bulk of its oil imports pass through it, the Indian Navy sought coordination among the global and regional powers to combat the scourge.

While the Navy did not confirm the sinking beyond stating that the stealth frigate INS Tabar was fired at by pirates aboard a ship suspected to be the mother vessel.

INS Tabar encountered a pirate vessel south west of Oman with two speedboats in tow. This vessel was similar in description to the mother vessel mentioned in various piracy bulletins. INS Tabar closed in on the vessel and asked her to stop for investigation, Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Neerad Sinha said.

The INS Tabar had last week in a daring rescue mission foiled an attempt by pirates to hijack two ships - one Indian and a Saudi Arabian merchant vessel.

INS Tabar has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since November 2. During this period, she has successfully escorted approximately 35 ships, including a number of foreign flagged vessels, safely during their transit through pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden. Western Naval Command has been controlling the anti-piracy operation since October 23 when the government ordered the Navy to deploy a warship in Gulf of Aden with the mandate to save Indian merchant vessels distressed by pirates.

In an effort to check piracy off the Somalian coast which has been identified by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) as the area with the highest risk of piracy in the world, India is now chalking out procedures to act in concert with other navies to tackle this menace. So far there have been 14 instances of piracy off the Somali coast in the past 10 days. Prior to the three vessels seized Tuesday-Wednesday, the IMB had reported 92 attempts at piracy off the coast of Somalia this year, 36 of which were successful.